Own the data and make it meaningful: The new winners in the energy sector

By Cas Weijenberg & Wim Nieuwenhuijse

It is a common sight in a lot of households: smart energy meters, for almost free delivered at your doorstep when you decided to buy your electricity from a new supplier. In the Netherlands, half of the households have a smart meter now; expectation is that by next year the 80% threshold is surpassed. The key question is however: are consumers making good use of the possibilities in times of exploding gas- & electricity prices? The answer is no. Only one out of four households have an app installed that can steer their energy needs pro-actively.

Data foresight

In business, there is also an ambivalent attitude towards the usage of data. In a round of interviews with business users of energy, Morph analyzed two categories of customers. The energy intensive industries, in their primary process dependent on electricity and/or gas. And those organizations that primarily use energy for lighting, computers and heating. Logically, the first is heavily dependent on insight and foresight of energy. As this bears heavy on their bottom line. For the second group, energy is an add-on to the square meter price of an office. The first is measuring energy data in a minute way, for the second group it is the overall insight that counts.

Carbon neutral

But times are changing. With the increasing pressure of a carbon neutral footprint, the booming gas and electricity prices and the effects of COVID at office occupation and the availability of insights, more and more business become interested to influence their energy stakes. The source of those insights is with the supplier of energy. No wonder that a lot of energy suppliers are investing massively investing in data platforms.

Energy suppliers

While consumers and most businesses are not yet massive users of energy data, energy suppliers have an historic track record in this field. They are players that own the data and know the demand and supply curves of their customers.

Dampen the churn

Owning the data is one thing. In our assessment of the energy market, we see that players who can work the data and convert it to meaningful data for their customers, will be the winners of the near future. That means a heavy pre-investment in machine learning and AI capability. But also a front office who can sell the added proposition to the customer. A lock-in strategy that we also witnessed in the telco business; If you can retain your customers on your data platform and offer him pro-actively solutions to his changing energy needs, you dampen the churn.

In our view, energy suppliers and players that provide the infrastructure will change into energy information brokers: providing the data to their customers to lower their energy demand in a smart and effective way. And as an important side effect: being master of the data is a learning base for the commercial agenda of those players in the coming years.

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